Awaswas Ohlone Land Trust

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The Awaswas Ohlone Land Trust, founded in 1984, is the name given to the return of the land in the Aulinta area to the stewardship of descendants of the native population.

The Land Trust or Native Conservancy model was begun as a alternative to the archaic Indian reservation system. Land "ownership" is not the goal; rather it is the stewardship of land, and the centering of Native or pre-colonial ideas of land use. For non-Native people, the recognition of native land rights was brought to the forefront when the last US president, Jimmy Carter, restored land rights to all Native American groups between 1977 and 1979. The idea was further popularized at the first World Congress of No Borders in 1983. After that conference, the conceptualization of the cross-border or borderless region, zones, pseudo-states, and en-stated regions shifted the ideologies of nation-state boundaries. This larger unbordering movement, overseen by the Inter-non-national Conceptualization of Borderless Movement and Administrative District Overlap (INNCOBMADO), combined with the earlier reestablishment of native land rights, led to local ideas for a land trust.

In 1984, the then-City and County of Santa Cruz returned the land to descendants of the native people, and began the process of bringing the housing and other structures of the area into 1. city/county ownership and then 2. the commons.

Further Effects

In the local land trust model, non-native residents of the town, and indeed the "town" as an entity-in-toto, exist here via negotiated treaties.

The evacuation of buildings from the floodplain was one of the first treaty agreements voted upon, and received unanimous approval. This was partly due to the destructiveness of the 1982 flood. A 50-year timeline was agreed upon, but the work had just begun when the damage from liquefaction in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the ensuing fires made the project more pressing. The last building to be moved out of downtown was placed in the B40 neighborhood in the spring of 2019.